7,800 sprayer certification labels have been issued by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to approved equipment inspectors since 2015.

Approximately 12% of these labels were issued in 2018. In November of last year 6,800 sprayers had been inspected as part of the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive or the Sustainable Use Directive (SUD) as it has become commonly known.

Under the SUD all sprayers must be tested by a registered department equipment inspector. The sprayer test lasts for five years and does not have to be carried out on sprayers which are under five-years-old.

However, after 2020 the sprayer test will need to be carried out every three years.

When these labels were issued under SUD:
  • 2015 – 20%;
  • 2016 – 33%;
  • 2017 – 35%;
  • 2018 – 12%.

An estimated 30,000 sprayers

It is estimated that there are 30,000 sprayers in the Republic of Ireland. So a large amount have not been tested.

373 sprayers have been applied for under the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) for tillage.

Apart from being part of good practice, sprayer testing ensures that the application equipment is applying the correct amount of product and spraying it in an accurate manner.

Other requirments under the SUD

Under the SUD sprayer operators, pesticide advisors and pesticide distributors must all be trained. Advisors and distributors must also keep up to date and carry out continuous professional development.